New American Studies


Joshua Weiner

What’s over is always under

you never know it’s there

you keep scratching scratching in the dirt

you think it might be there

you need a sharper shovel honey

what’s foul is also fair


Stop looking in the attic

as if that were somewhere

that’s just a place to store old stuff

you need to go somewhere

somewhere where it’s never over

it’s never under the stair


Underneath the carpet

is just some homemade dirt

underneath the cover sweets

is another kind of hurt

in the antique armoire

hangs a single dry-cleaned shirt


What’s over is always under

dig it up with care

lay it out under the moon

tangling your hair

you’re tangled in the ties that bind

you’re bound for the station there


I’ll pick you up when you get there

you may wonder who I am

yeah you’ll wonder who I am

even though we share a name

I’m underneath the overgrowth

I’m over it all the same

About the Author

Joshua Weiner is the author of three books of poetry, most recently, The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish, and the editor of At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn (all from Chicago).  Berlin Notebook, reporting about the refugee crisis in Germany, was published by Los Angeles Review of Books in 2016.  His translation of Nelly Sachs’s Flight & Metamorphosis was published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2022.  The recipient of Whiting, Rome Prize, and Guggenheim fellowships, he teaches at University of Maryland and lives in Washington D.C.